Emotional Hardbody Answers

My best friend’s boyfriend bought her a gift she’ll hate. Should I tell him?

My best friend’s boyfriend bought her a gift she’ll hate

Dear Emotional Hardbody,

My best friend, Veronica, has a new boyfriend, James. The two of them are head over heels about each other. James seems like a really nice guy, and this relationship could last. But there’s a potential problem in the near future.

Veronica’s birthday is in a couple of weeks. After making me promise not to spoil the surprise, a bursting-with-pride James showed me the birthday present he got for her.  It’s a Pandora bracelet, and at $300+, it wasn’t cheap.

Veronica is a bit of a jewelry snob. It’s not like she insists on expensive jewelry — in fact, she doesn’t wear much jewelry at all. It’s just that she hates “mall” jewelry in general and Pandora jewelry in particular. In fact, Pandora jewelry is a frequent butt of her (not infrequent) jewelry- or mall-related jokes. It’s only because this relationship is new that James could have missed this.

Should I tell James that Veronica hates Pandora jewelry or just keep my mouth shut and let him give her the bracelet?

Signed,

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Dear Rock,

This is a Pandora’s Box dilemma if ever there was one.  Do you figuratively open Pandora’s Box now by telling James, or do you figuratively open Pandora's Box later when Veronica literally open the Pandora’s box for herself on her birthday? It’s enough to make you wish diamonds actually were Veronica’s best friend. That way you wouldn't be in the hot seat right now.  

Right or wrong, the initial stages of dating typically involve a lot of image crafting on the part of both parties. Telling James not only risks hurting his feelings and/or embarrassing him, it requires disclosing something about Veronica (her disdain for mall jewelry) that she might not want revealed just yet.

Oftentimes, the polite thing to do and the considerate thing to do are the same. But this is one of those rare cases where they are different. 

But if you don’t say anything, James has spent several hundred dollars on something you know Veronica will hate. If the relationship lasts, sooner or later he’ll find out about her hatred for Pandora jewelry, and he’ll know that you had the opportunity to give him a heads up but didn’t.

Oftentimes, the polite thing to do and the considerate thing to do are the same. But this is one of those rare cases where they are different.

The polite thing to do is to say nothing and let this play out however it plays out. Veronica and James are adults, and if this relationship is meant to be, they’ll figure this out on their own, awkward moments and all. After all, James didn’t ask for your input before he bought the gift, and he showed it to you only after swearing you to secrecy. Those two factors simultaneously box you in and provide you cover.

The considerate thing to do is to let James know that Veronica isn’t crazy about Pandora jewelry. With two weeks to go before her birthday, there’s still plenty of time to return the bracelet and get her something else. Sure, that conversation is going to be about as much fun as a class in Greek mythology, but it’s not like it would be all pain and no gain. You know he wants to get Veronica something nice, but because he hasn’t known her very long, he doesn’t know her likes and dislikes. As her best friend, you do. If you have the wherewithal to have this awkward conversation, you can help James avoid a misfire and help Veronica get a birthday present that’s a better fit for her personality.

If you’re having trouble deciding which way to go, consider this: If you were in James’ position, wouldn’t you want to know? I know I would. But more importantly, think about it from Veronica’s perspective. Knowing what you know about your best friend’s personality, do you think she’d want you to tell James or leave it alone? Once you figure out the answer to that question, then you’ll know what to do.

Good luck!

Emotional Hardbody

Pandora jewelry Emotional Hardbody
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